After a Covid-induced hiatus, June 2023 sees Invesis finally able to roll out its strategy of leveraging the firm’s involvement in Queensland’s AU$6.3bn Cross River Rail to grow its presence in the Australian PPP market.
The exciting infrastructure opportunities developing down under over the last five years have prompted the appointment of Liselotte Koppenol as Business Development Lead in Australia. She joined Invesis in 2021 as a bid manager in Belgium and the Netherlands, working on prisons, schools and roads, while also undertaking market and regulatory analysis. She now provides a local safe pair of hands in the market having recently moved from the company’s Dutch headquarters to Australia.
Koppenol has already spent months engaging with the marketplace from a European base, meeting contacts and getting an understanding of the nuances, including political appetite for PPP in state and federal governments, and where Invesis can best add value.
According to Invesis Chief Investment Officer, David Swarbrick, “We are in a growth strategy; bearing in mind our impressive twenty-year track record in European PPP and attractive proposition, we think it makes perfect sense to take that offer beyond our existing North West European core markets. So, we are targeting new markets across the globe, with Australia and the United States at the top of our list.”
Make no mistake though, the maturity and strength of incumbent players is not lost on Swarbrick. But, he feels that Invesis is well-equipped to take on the challenge, with a portfolio of 50 existing assets across diverse sectors from social infrastructure to transportation and water, as well as over 100 staff across a broad range of disciplines. As a long-term holder of assets, with an understanding of working in various regulatory and operational conditions and the backing of shareholders, Royal BAM Group and Dutch pension investor, PPGM, Invesis has a lot to offer.
Invesis is an equity investor on Cross River Rail, but this is just one of the PPP roles in which the company has international expertise and experience. It’s the combination of skills and adaptability that Swarbrick sees as key to unlocking success in this market that still offers so much potential: “We’re able to adapt to different roles to suit the needs of the client and the partners on a particular project.” He goes on, “That could involve just providing finance on very competitive terms, if that’s all that’s required, taking minority shareholding in projects alongside strong local partners, or taking the lead sponsor role on projects where that is a possibility. Whatever role we take, we can bring additional benefits to the table from our existing portfolio and experience across the whole concession life including project management, operational management, finance and accounting etc.
As a major transportation project, Cross River Rail is also an indicator of one of the sectors Invesis is interested in, alongside the social and affordable housing sector which is a very high priority for Australia’s recently elected Labor federal government and for which there is a huge demand across the country. What’s more, healthcare, education and defence, which are also high on the political agendas of state and national governments, match perfectly with Invesis’ experience.
The goal of a sustainable business in Australia is a key strategic focus for Invesis. With its early experience from Cross River Rail and its commitment to putting ‘boots on the ground’ it is hoping to demonstrate its determination to be successful and become a valued participant in the Australian infrastructure market.